Welcome to my website in which I show you how I grow great organic vegies in a water conserving raised garden bed with the help of a built in worm farm and pest exclusion devices. I also show you how I rotate these vegies in a 4 year 4 bed cycle. Check out my website 'Gardening with Ecobeds' which shows you how Ecobeds are made and how they grow food without using poisonous chemicals....................John Ashworth 27th July 2015.
Latest Update 3rd July 2016.
I sow carrots thinly twice a year in a group. I harvest them without thinning in bunches from one end of this group.
I mostly steam or roast them in their skins or shred them onto salads
when they are small and succulent. As they get bigger they become an
important component in vegetable soups and casseroles.
grow slowly and can be harvested when required directly from the soil, pulling them out in small bunches to be
cooked and eaten right away.
You will not find sweeter carrots than those grown organically in your own garden.
Carrots are a great source of dietary fibre and micronutrients.
I have grown Carrots for many years in my garden without significant pest problems.
Carrots can be grown all year round, but they are best sown in cooler conditions (15- 25 deg C is ideal).
They need well aged rich organic soil.
The soil must be kept moist during propagation.
As soon as the previous crop has been harvested in February, remove the mulch and crop waste and add it to the compost heap.
Select a space 1500mm x 300mm for carrots and add a 60mm layer of thermal compost. Cover the compost with a 50mm surface mulch of fresh straw.
Leave the bed for 4
weeks to build up worm and microbial activity.
In March, remove the mulch from the prepared bed and add about 5mm of good organic seed growing mix or finely sieved compost. Combine half a teaspoonful of seed with fine sand in a large jar with a
perforated lid. Shake it up well and scatter the mixture on top of the
in a 300mm wide band. Apply a light covering of sieved compost or organic seed growing mix.
The sand helps controls the density and distribution of your carrots. Water
them in well and keep them moist until they germinate.
They take a lot longer than most vegetable seeds, so be patient.
Thin them out as they grow, and once the size is right, start to harvest them for the kitchen, or just let them grow until finger size and harvest them in small bunches as you need them from one end of the bed. Cover any exposed roots with soil or compost.
Make a repeat sowing (after preparing a new bed) in September.
Its spring in September in Melbourne and usually warmer than the 15 deg C needed for carrot seed germination. Wait a little longer if its cooler where you live.
Carrots should not be grown more than once in the same spot in the same
season, so follow other members of the crop rotation group instead. In my case this usually means following beetroot, with a succession sowing of beetroot going into the vacated carrot bed.
Harvesting and Storage.
If you have planted
the right quantity, you will finish harvesting them when they are at
their peak size and quality.
Store your carrots
in the soil where they grow, unless you need space for other crops.
Harvest your carrots by grasping the foliage as close to their roots as possible and
carefully pull them out of the soil. Fill the hole left behind with
soil or compost.
I don't peel carrots fresh from the garden, I cook them in their skins after removing soil with a vegetable brush.
To store carrots, clean and blanch them in boiling water for 2 minute. After cooling and drying store them in the freezer in zip bags. Alternatively, if your climate allows, grow them all year round and store them in the soil until needed.
interrupts the reproductive cycle of carrot fly. It removes their host from the bed in which they over-wintered as pupae.
The next years Carrot crop is sown in a new bed free from carrot fly.
fly travel close to the ground and raised garden beds are a significant
obstacle. Pest exclusion netting also keeps them out of your Ecobed.
Sow carrot seeds
thinly to reduce or eliminate thinning. Carrot fly is attracted by the scent of exposed carrot
Alliums (onion family) are said to be good companions because they mask the carrot's scent.
soil management helps control carrot fly. Steinernema spp, is a
predatory nematode which kills carrot fly larvae. It's commonly found in biologically active soil so I apply generous quantities of home made compost to maintain this activity in my soil.
Carrot fly usually lay their eggs on bare soil, so a careful application of mulch around the carrots helps interrupt the fly's
Exclusion netting stops birds digging for worms. Blackbirds are the main
culprits in my garden.
I don't mind
them getting a few from my
ornamental beds especially when they have young to feed, but they are
attracted to Ecobeds because of the abundant population of worms in the
soil, so I keep them out.
Hot dry windy weather.
our climate plant dehydration is a constant issue in summer, and I
use the exclusion netting with its 20% shade factor to protect my carrots against the sun as well as insect and bird pests.
extremely hot and windy weather I add a layer of heavy duty shadecloth to the top of the Ecobed's exclusion frame to minimise plant damage.